Leave room to breathe.

imageWe have had a second home for about 15 years….until now. All the old sayings like, “20 pounds of xxxxx in a 10 pound xxxxx” couldn’t be more àpropos for my life at the moment.

There are two of everything. Pillows, towels, bathroom scales, ladders, hammers and tape measures. Where I had a nice assortment of running clothes for every season, I now have an assortment for everyone’s running season. We have enough china to feed an army.

Oh mind you, I have sorted through everything. And there have been multiple trips to the consignment store and the goodwill truck parked in the lot by the bank. I think that poor man dreads seeing me turn the corner.

We like antique clocks and would positioned one in every room to hear their beautiful chime throughout the house. I no longer have that many rooms. I have a small collection of antique phones but not enough phone jacks to plug them into.

There are so many decisions to make, my brain is tired. How do you decide to rid yourself of things you’ve had for decades or to eliminate one item when you love two.

A few years ago I owned a home furnishing store. When things didn’t sell at the store, I would cut my losses and bring it home. Of course I loved it – I had bought it in the first place.

Once in a while something would arrive that exceeded my expectations and unless a customer was standing there watching me unpack it and insisted on buying it on the spot, that too might find its way to my house. Needless to say, I have accumulated beautiful furnishings – things I find unbearable to part with. But they don’t all fit!

I woke up this morning, stumbled around the wardrobe boxes that have lined the bed for four days now and prayed when I turned on the lights it would have all disappeared; all the decisions miraculously resolved.

When a new shipment came into the store, I would rearrange everything to incorporate the new items – making the showroom look completely different.  I pushed beds, moved tables, switched out all the accessories and lamps.

I would talk to myself, I talked to the furniture. Sometimes I’d hang so far over the ladder hanging a picture or moving drapes that one deep breath at the wrong moment and everything might come crashing down.

My store sat on Main Street surrounded by other shops and restaurants. As embarrassing as it was, I often wondered if folks were sitting across the street watching and laughing at my little performance.

Eventually, I would maneuver everything into its proper place and it would be beautiful. Customers would ask me what was my secret to designing the showroom. I would always say, “I leave room for every item to breathe.”

Perhaps that’s a good philosophy for life. Sometimes we try to cram so many things into our day, or our life (or my home!) that we forget each activity deserves its own space. If we give each thing we do its own fair share of our time, the whole day feels more beautiful.

Eventually….this too will be the case for my home and all this stuff.

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